“Rend your heart & not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious & compassionate, slow to anger & abounding in love, & He relents from sending calamity.”

Joel 2:13

I’ve read this passage before skimming over its significance. In haste to cling to God’s grace & compassion, slow to anger & abounding love, I neglected the opportunity for action. Rending simply defined is tearing apart, typically fabric. In biblical times, it was often associated with grief or mourning & was demonstrated by the tearing of one’s clothing as part of an outward ritual. But that’s not what’s being asked of us in the portion above.

“Rend your heart – not your garments.”

Exactly what does “rendering your heart” look like? Fasting. Prayer. Meditating on God’s Word. Far more crucial than any outward sign, rending your hearts (tearing yourselves apart) from worldly distractions allows God to fill you with new promises, hopes & direction. Let’s get real: we all know how to gussie ourselves up & put on a show to impress…people. God’s more interested in a heart change than your wardrobe. He’s searching for people with contrite hearts broken over their sinful nature with a willingness to change.

I pray these last two weeks presented moments to rend your heart & receive from the Lord. For as God promises, “I am sending you grain, new wine & olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully;” (Joel 2:19a).


Kelly McGaha

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